Last week, the trial began in the Oklahoma City sexual battery case against Kevin Rowland, former chief investigator for the medical examiner's office. After only two days of trial and 50 minutes of deliberation, jurors found Rowland not guilty of sexual battery against a male co-worker.
Rowland was charged with sexual battery following an incident in December of 2007, in which he grabbed the chest of a male co-worker. The prosecution argued that Rowland took sexual pleasure from the action and that he was on "an erotic power trip."
According to Rowland's Oklahoma City defense lawyer, however, Rowland's actions were merely "horseplay" and not sexual in nature. Jurors agreed with the defense that there was no evidence that the incident was meant to arouse either Rowland or his accuser; if the action was not sexual in nature, then no sexual battery occurred. Jurors failed to find evidence that the married Rowland had sexual interest in his male co-worker.
Additionally, they considered a series of racy emails sent to Rowland from his accuser before and after the incident. The emails included a montage of film scenes showing topless women. While jurors found Rowland not guilty of sexual battery, prosecuting attorneys say the judge refused to allow them to consider finding Rowland guilty of misdemeanor assault. I
n fact, after the acquittal, one juror claimed that the case was a waste of the taxpayers' money, contrasting the "horseplay" in the Rowland case with serious cases of sexual harassment or sexual battery in the workplace. "It wasn't worth it," she said of the trial.
Rowland still faces Oklahoma rape charges. He is accused of raping a female employee at a Tulsa hotel in 2006. His Oklahoma rape defense attorney asserts that the charge is equally unsupported by evidence as the sexual battery charge, and that it is politically motivated. His trial is scheduled to begin in late November.